ASEAN FMs’ retreat to be held on 3-4 February


Indonesia, the new ASEAN chair, will hold its first ministerial retreat in early February to discuss the bloc’s agenda and priorities, according to a diplomatic source.


The retreat will be the first informal meeting among the ASEAN foreign ministers under the new chairmanship and will be held on February 3rd and 4th at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.


According to the source, at this meeting Indonesia will discuss the planned agenda and priorities under its year-long leadership. Several issues have been mentioned as top priorities both within and outside ASEAN.


Among ASEAN member countries, key issues include health and food security, energy transition, and digital development,as well as those related to the integration of the ASEAN community. The ongoing conflict in Myanmar will be further discussed and there could be some changes in the overall ASEAN approach, according to the source, who asked not to be identified.


For nearly two years, ASEAN has been trying to implement the 5-point consensus (5PC) agreed in April 2021, but with little progress. Pressure on ASEAN is piling up, both within the member countries and from the international community,to have Nay Pyi Taw fulfil the 5PC.


Recently, the UN Security Council issued a resolution condemning and calling for an end to the violence in Myanmar. It also called on the country’s military rulers to free all political prisoners, including democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing a total of 33 years in prison.


Under Indonesia’s leadership, the source said that ASEAN will strengthen its centrality and relevance. “Indonesia has a global voice, so it can promote the profile of ASEAN,” the source pointed out.


The retreat will also be attended by newly appointed ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn from Cambodia. He succeeded Dato Lim Jock Hoi from Brunei Darussalam, who completed his five-year term on December 31st.


Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service